Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapter 1.2

Chapter 1.2- Nothing More

                'Elena' moved around quietly the next morning trying not to wake 'Steve'. The house was too drab for her, so she had put the few mementos she had brought along up on the walls. It made her feel much more at home here.
                Steve only woke up when she pulled out some mix and eggs to make waffles. She wasn’t a very accomplished cook and her movements in the kitchen were clumsy.
                “Nope,” Steve said, sitting up along the couch. “No way I’ll get this house clean for you, but I sleep on the bed tonight if I go out and get you hair dye and get a job today.”
                His muscles were protesting from the cramped position he had been holding while trying to stay on the couch all night. He caught sight of her nightclothes and grinned.
                “You didn’t have to dress up just for me, now,” Steve had a great time pulling her chain.
                “I didn’t bring any pajamas, and I need clean clothes. Until I can do laundry this is it,” Elena told him. “And don’t get any ideas. It’s not for you.”

                He stood, ignoring her hackles and continuing to try and work out kinks and cricks.
                “So glad,” Steve said. “So very glad you can cook.”
                Elena didn’t answer. She had just dropped an egg on the floor and wasn’t sure he had heard and was being sarcastic or if he seriously thought she knew how to do anything at all in the kitchen.
                Steve didn’t notice that she hadn’t answered. His eye had fallen on the medal now hanging on the wall.
                “Well, lookee here,” he drawled slowly. “Now that’s a fancy medal! Says for catchin’… “ He stopped.
                Elena stopped also, glancing over her shoulder to see what had caught him short. There weren't any names on anything she had placed out, so it would keep her secret. What else had him coming up short?
“Don’t call me that-“
                “-This says this medal is for catching ghosts,” Steve was incredulous. “Why on earth would you hang a gag item on our wall?”
                “Just so I have something to look at in the house other than you,” Elena answered tartly.

                Steve had headed out soon after breakfast. True to her word Elena had begun cleaning. He thought it might be a great show and almost stayed, but Elena’s barbs had become quite nasty so he went to do her bidding. He had grabbed the first and cheapest box of dye he came across, set it inside the front door of the house (he wasn’t going in there risking Mama Bear again) and set out for the cemetery.
                The cemetery was surrounded by a high fence and gates. For a moment, it had worried him, but looking between the bars what he saw gave him heart. When he entered, he was glad indeed.

                To his relief, the cemetery was cheerful and soothing. There was a gated-in colonnade where a few rather grand looking tombstones stood crumbling in the elements. A few statues and a fountain gave it all a rather rich experience.
                Over the phone, the caretaker had told Steve to find the “older” mausoleum of the two on the grounds and to go inside to apply.

                A moment’s hesitation as he saw that, up close, the statue guarding the edifice was more grim looking than he had realized at first.
                ‘It’s just a statue,’ he told himself. ‘It’s just a statue.’

                The caretaker had a single tooth in his wizened mouth and had a cackle rather than a laugh. His hump deformed his shape and he showed relish when Steve’s native timidity reared its head at the man’s stories of hauntings and poltergeists.
                When he emerged from the dark room, it took several minutes before his eyes adjusted properly.
                Looking at the statue beside him, the old man’s whispers tickled his brain.
                “Look,” he said aloud to the statue. “I promise to not knock you down if you stay right where you are. Got it?” He looked the statue up and down one final time.
                At least the statue had stayed still, for now.
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                Elena had changed her clothes into something she could handle better for now, and had dyed her hair in the bathroom. When all was said and done, she was horrified. She glanced around, hoping Steve wouldn’t come back anytime soon.
                “What a nightmare!” she thought. The color made her look pale at best, and made the angles in her face stand out even more. She had lost too much weight trying to get here safely.

                She turned around as a car drove by the window of the bathroom. She was scared it was Steve coming home, and she wasn’t ready to face him just yet. However, what she did see made her heart skip a beat. A flash of green through the car’s window made her smile. She’d have to track that particular head of hair later. Right now, she wanted to go to the library.

                Elena had been browsing shelves, looking for a particular subject. She could ask the dour librarian speeding up her search, but decided she’d rather find it herself. The quiet solitude of the library was comforting.
                Thinking she might just look it up on one of the computers the library offered, she turned her head and caught her breath, zeroing her gaze back onto the shelf in front of her as quickly as she could.
                A few shelves away stood Drew Lao. He had been placed in charge of the military base here after Sim Nation’s take over. His sister, Tori, was the new police chief. They were people she didn’t want to catch the attention of. She had met Drew before, before she had come here, and was anxious to avoid his detection. He may have highlighted his hair to look like he was sympathetic, but Elena wasn’t about to see if that was true or not.

                Finding the correct subject at last, and selecting an intriguing title Elena sat down facing the fireplace hoping he stayed out of the seating in her area. He didn’t oblige by completely going away, but took a seat where he couldn’t see her face at least.
                Elena did her best to ignore him, skimming through the book, trying to absorb as much information as she possibly could. She needed to know all of this, the military man was secondary right now.

                Several hours later, Elena averted her face, concentrating hard on the flickering flames opposite Colonel Lao as she tried to leave. She had enough information for now from the book and wanted to get back home before Steve got there and destroyed her careful cleaning job.
                When she had made it past Col. Lao without his notice she felt an odd up-serge of emotion. It made her want to cry. It made her nauseous. It was totally unlike her, and she hated herself for it. But the tug of her old home called to her in such an emotional state and she decided to go and see the place once again before going back to Steve and the tiny house.

                Elena walked slowly up the crazy paving to the gates. Her heart was heavy and she felt so alone. She had hoped the house would comfort her, feel like an old friend. But it was cold and empty.
                Grabbing a bar in each fist she leaned her forehead against the cool metal and allowed herself to drain of emotion. She looked through the windows, memories rushing back of her time in the house. The more they came back though, the worse she felt. There was very little happy here. And certainly none of it helped her now.
                As she shuffled her feet, her purse fell forward, hitting the bars with an unnaturally loud clang.
                “What did that?” she muttered.
                Opening her purse, she saw the Hikon camera she had grabbed in her last moments in the house. She had been fooling around with it earlier that day and it was near when they were forced to suddenly leave Pipersville.
                Taking it out she decided to take a photograph of the house as a reminder of what she had gone through to get here. A reminder of what to be strong for. A piece of her past that was real, and wasn’t an act. And she knew what ‘job’ she would take if Steve asked her again.
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                Elena was putting away the dinner of Mac and Cheese she had prepared when ‘Steve’ finally came out of the bedroom. He had needed a nap just to make it to bedtime, and he wanted one where he could rest.
                “And,” Elena began. “You made fun of what I wear to bed? Care to explain your pajama choice?”
                Steve ignored her barb though, staring at her clothes.
                “I thought,” he countered. “That we didn’t have enough money for new clothes, Princess-
                “-Please, don’t call me that-“
                “-And I swear that is not the shade of hair color I brought home,” he finished with a lazy grin.

                To his surprise, ‘Elena’ smiled at him.
                “Aw, come on,” she said. “That other one washed me out horribly. This one is loads better, you have to admit.”
                “I’ll admit nothin’.” Steve’s face had fallen into curiosity. “And that still doesn’t explain the new clothes.”

                “Well,” Elena noticed his displeasure. “You see, nothing was fitting correctly. You know, I lost a lot of weight in the journey here. I just needed something to wear until I can get back into shape again.”
                Steve frowned at her. Something didn’t quite add up, but he wasn’t sure which part of her explanation was truth and which wasn’t. It all seemed to be a jumbled mess.
                Deciding not to mess with it further he turned away from her.

                He couldn’t resist one little jibe, though.
                “And I thought,” he started. “I thought we were saving our money. I think a double dose of hair dye and new clothes would set us back on being able to afford two beds, Princess-“
“-Seriously, don’t-
                “-‘Cause I’m lodging an official complaint against lodging on the couch.” Steve finished.
                “We’ll get the money. We’ll go our separate ways soon enough,” Elena soothed. “The clothes were on the cheap at the consignment store and sorry but the dye was essential. But we’ll get the money to split up soon enough.”

                Elena had turned into the bedroom, bidding him a goodnight. Though she had left the room, she had stayed right with ‘Steve.’ She had followed him as he heated up some leftovers, and had showered in the shared bathroom.
                Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror he stared at his own hair for a moment.
                ‘Yeah,” he thought. “Yeah, she didn't look too bad with that chestnut mane.”
                He shook his head, angry at himself. He wasn’t honest with her and she wasn’t honest with him. There was no way anything with her would work out in any world. For now, they were stuck together, nothing more.

                His nap before bedtime and another sojourn on the couch had him awake extremely early the next morning. Elena was still asleep, as was the majority of the town. ‘Steve’ didn’t particularly like being outside, but he had dreams of planting a few things eventually and fertilizing them from nature would be ideal. Besides, fresh fried fish was one of his favorites for breakfast. He just hoped Elena was as good a frying them as his own mother had been.
                Taking a spot well hidden by some bulrushes he cast his line, watching the slowly changing sky. When the light finally began to reflect off the black water he spotted the mountains. He glared at them. It had taken him far longer to get through them than he had ever anticipated. Thankfully, he had run into Elena almost as soon as the trees were thick enough to actually hide him.

                At first, they had fought, not wanting to have anything to do with the other. One night, he had stayed up all night, hiking, trying to put distance between them. He had walked straight into a bear. After hours of playing keep away, he had been exhausted and thought he was beat. It was then that Elena caught up to him. Elena had distracted the bear and managed to help him get away. She had in turn hiked through the night a few days later. However, she had turned her foot on a loose stone and he had had to help her along until she could hobble without help. At that point, neither even attempted to get away from the other.
                Slowly, they talked about a few things. Exchanged ‘names’ while each knew the other was lying. They helped each to gather food, make fires. They had discussed money and pooled resources so that they could have a better start. Always, though, the plan was to eventually separate. Now, he wasn’t sure that was what he wanted.

                He wasn’t having much luck, but continued until the sun was high enough to cause the water to fog. Steve wasn’t used to fishing for a big catch. He was used to fishing to clear his brain. He reeled his line in one final time after feeling a tug. The smallest catch he had ever landed awaited him.
                “Minnow,” he said with disgust. He’d use it for bait next time he came out to fish, whenever that would be.
                His stomach rumbled, reminding him that it was time for breakfast and he headed home.
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So a little bit of backstory here. A little. Though there were far more lies than anything else in there. And I know my pictures aren't the best, I've gotten better at them lately though, so a few chapters from now you might be able to tell what you're looking at!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chapter 1.1

Chapter 1.1- A Brand New Life

                It had taken days and days going through the mountains and forests separating Pipersville from the rest of the known sim world. Finally, they were placing their aching feet on pavement. Solid, steady pavement. Both had blisters, scrapes, bruises and a sunburn. They were hungry for a meal instead of whatever they could scrounge out of the wilderness. They stunk, wanted an actual mattress and a place to call home.
                'Steve' Sixkiller looked out over the dusty street. The place looked deserted. He knew most of the sims who had lived here had been shipped elsewhere, but he also had heard that the Sim Nation supervised recolonization had begun again. Where were all the sims?
                'Elena Brewer' looked across the landscape and thought her heart would burst. It had been too long since she had been home. Home. What a wonderful thought. She knew they were tired and had little energy left and still had to find a place to sleep for the night, but she had to know. Stopping only long enough to enjoy the feel of pavement under her sturdy boots she strode off down the sidewalk hoping there were still enough sims in town to run the taxi services. She didn’t mind spending a few simoleans to save her feet.

                Steve watched her walk off with exasperation. In the moments since they had stepped onto the sidewalk some nutty looking old dude had appeared with a camera and some other random sim was running straight for Elena.
                “Elena?” Steve called after her. He wanted nothing more than a rest. “Elena?” a little louder this time.
                “Come on, Elena! It’s time to rest! We’re here!” He called to her retreating back.
                “Damn it,” he muttered under his breath. The guy with a camera was attempting to take his photograph. This pair was here without permission to settle here and he really didn’t want to attract authorities. “ELENA!”

                'Steve' started to walk after 'Elena.' She was so far away by this time that he had to run a little to catch up to her.  When he finally did, she was climbing into a taxi.
                “And just where are we going,” Steve asked before climbing in himself.
“Wasting simoleans we could use on a room and some food,” he thought to himself wryly staring at the taxi drivers eyes watching them in the rear-view mirror.
“I just wanted to see if-“ Elena stopped suddenly. She had to be careful with what she said. It was dangerous enough for her and ‘Steve’ to be there without being authorized to join the resettlement, but she had been under very close supervision by Sim Nation before running she had run away. This was the last place they wanted her to be.
“If something is true.” She finished lamely, her mind scrambling to come up with a story that didn’t sound too fake.
                “I saw it on tv once and couldn’t believe it was real,” Elena finally came up with this half-truth.
Steve frowned at her. Neither had offered too much information to the other one on their trek through the wilds, but this was a little strange even for the tiny amount of information he did have about her.
“It was the Blue house,” Elena added. “I thought it was really big.”
Steve couldn’t help himself this time. “We’re wasting time and simoleans to go and see a big house?”
Elena just looked at him and he dropped it. They had stuck together in the woods for safety. It would probably help keep them safe if they continued to do that. Besides, as both were keeping secrets from each other, neither wanted to pry.

                Steve was impressed by the size of the house in front of him. The taxi driver had been dismissed by Steve, who had informed Elena that they would walk to a meal and a bed from here. Elena had acted like a sleep-walker though and he was sure she hadn’t heard a word he had said.
                He turned from the driver to find her standing peering through the bars of the padlocked gate.
                “Looks like no one lives here still,” Steve said. “The government is probably still holding onto it to make sure one of the psycho’s kids doesn’t try to follow in Daddy’s footsteps.”
                The muscles in Elena’s arms and back rippled as she tensed, but she said nothing.

                “Listen, Elena,” Steve said. “Why don’t you go and get us some food. I’ll find us a place to rent for now.”
                There was no response.
                “There’s nothing more to see here. I’m hungry and it’s gettin’ dark. If we’re going to stay here this place is always goin’ to be here. Let’s go.”
                Elena didn’t even make a sign to let him know she heard him. She continued to stand and stare at the large house in front of them.
                Finally, she turned around.
                “Fine,” Elena said with a flinty stare at Steve. “Get us beds for the night. I’ll find dinner.”
                Steve rolled his eyes as he turned around. ‘Chicks can be so weird sometimes,’ he thought.

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                “My PlumbBob,” Elena said. She had just walked into the tiny house Steve had found for them to rent. He had called her with the address while she was still at the grocery store. “The cobwebs and dust have paid their share of the rent right?”
                “Course they did, Princess-“
                “Don’t call me that-”
                “-I asked them for that the moment I walked in the door.” Steve didn’t even look up from the book he had found on the dusty bookshelf.
                Elena sighed looking at the small room. It was nicer than the woods, but still a far cry from the life she was used to.

                “What on Sim Planet,” Elena had turned around finally, seeing Steve with book in hand. “I didn’t know you could read.”
                “Thanks for the vote of confidence, Princess-“
                “-Don’t call me that-“
                “-Makes me feel all special like,” Steve finished finally looking at her. “I thought you were out gettin’ food, not an attitude. And I’m hungry.”
                Elena’s stomach growled just then.
                “And it seems like you are too, Princess-“
                “-Please, don’t call me that.”
                “So why isn’t dinner in front of me then,” Steve grinned at Elena. “Food in my mouth is one way to get me to shut up…Princess.”
                Elena stomped her booted foot on the carpet before she realized she really was acting prissy and the best way to shut up any man was food. She settled for glaring at Steve and went to fix a simple salad for the pair.

                Elena didn’t bother to tell Steve the salad was finished. He looked up and rolled his eyes at her when he heard her set her plate on the table.
                “Hmmm. Thought Princesses were supposed to have better table manners,” Steve said, watching her wolf down large quantities of Cobb. “Might oughta call you Wolverine instead.”
                “Don’t call me that,” Elena mumbled between mouthfuls. She hadn’t been so hungry in ages. She could eat this all night.
                Salad, Princess?” Steve asked with disgust. “Sweetheart, I know you prefer the nicer things in life like any girl does, but salad is not goin’ to feed a man.”
                “So, sorry,” Elena snapped back. “But I was unaware I was feeding a man. I merely though I was feeding myself and the little boy I met in the woods.”
                “And don’t call me that, please,” she added wearily.

                By the time Steve had served himself a large portion of salad Elena was already washing up her plate in the dinky sink.
                ‘Hmmm,’ Steve thought. ‘Kinda fillin’ for a salad. Wouldn’t have killed her to fix desert, though.’
                “I’m going to go look through the rest of the house,” Elena told him without turning around. “Get an idea of what we’re facing here.”
                Steve raised his eyebrows. '‘Facing here?’' he thought. ‘Thought we were out of the woods.’

                Steve had just risen from the table when Elena ran back in wide-eyed.
                “There’s only one bed,” she panted, clearly horrified. “And I think I saw a mouse just now, in the corner. By the dresser. Oh my, PlumbBob.”
                “Mouse ain’t goin’ to hurcha, Princess,” Steve drawled at her. Elena didn’t even notice that he had said the magic word again. “Besides, we can share a bed. I can more’n handle myself against anything you have to throw at me.”

                Elena’s gaze snapped at Steve.
                “Throw at you?” She stared at him, agog. “I beg your pardon, but I can assure you with certainty that I am not going to throw aa-nee-thing-at you other than my boot!”
                “Oh,” Steve said calmly. “Get out of it, Princess-“
                “-PlumbBob, quit calling me that-“
                “-I’m just trying to lighten things up.” Steve said. “You haven’t bothered to ask, but this is what we could afford. There was nothin’ else out there in our price range. And it came with one, count ‘em one, bed. We’ve just got to make do.”

                Steve was about to continue when he saw he had lost Elena’s attention, again.
                He watched her curiously. She had focused on something he could not see. A smile gentle as a spring rain had softened her face. ‘Elena’ did this from time to time. She had done it through the woods and he would have to bring her back to get her to keep going. Sometimes she came out of these reveries cheerful and kind. At other times, though, she would be dark and angry. Then, there were the very rare, and very disturbing, times when she had instead silently wept, coming out of those spells hard and with a fiery determination. At those times, her do or die resolve had frightened him more than her anger ever could.
                He drew in his breath to watch, try to guess which way the wind blew today.

                Elena didn’t spend long in her netherworld this time. Slowly, she brought her gaze back to Steve and the world in front of her.
                “I’ve got to clean this place in the morning. Top to bottom and inside and out. I forgot to pick up hair dye while I was at the store and we’re going to need money to get a bigger place. There’s not enough room in this house to put another bed even if we wanted.”
                Steve stayed quiet, letting her say her piece.
                Elena’s eyebrows raised slightly. She had been expecting some comeback from the country boy.
                “So first thing in the morning, I will make breakfast,” Elena continued. “Then I will begin to clean and you will go to the store. You will deliver the hair dye and then go and get a job.”
                Steve lowered his brow, frowning.
                “Any job will do,” Elena hurried to continue before he could object. “I know the cemetery is hiring maintenance staff. I’m sure a big tough guy like you would think such a job is a great time.” Elena had pouted and simpered when saying her last line. He had been all big and tough acting at her panic over a mouse, but she had a theory he was really just a big softie and wanted him to prove it to her.

                Steve looked at her, remembering her softened features. He had wondered how she had managed to become so hardened so early on.
                He had felt her jibe about being a man. It stung. But he wanted to build a brand new life here. One where he could be the person he wanted to be, not the person he was born as. 'Steve' decided to take her advice and hope that it became a stick in her eye, not his.
                However, he did have one big glaring concern.

                “So,” Steve said. “Why aren’t you gettin’ a job, 'Elena?'”
                He had left her pet name out hoping to get a little truth from her for once. He had several suspicions, but no confirmation. They were in enough trouble sneaking here, they didn’t need any more.

                'Elena' looked at 'Steve' squarely. His challenge was fair and she meant to answer it. Her life-long dream had been to become a world-renowned surgeon. But things had changed. She needed to lie low and such a high profile job wouldn’t suit her. She still didn’t know exactly what she was going to do, but she’d figure it out.
                “I can’t get a job until I dye my hair,” Elena said with confidence. “They rooted all the colors out of this town and are only letting select ones in. I stand out too much. I need to dye it to a more subdued tone before going out in public too much. The little I was out today could have raised an alarm already. We can’t afford any trouble.”

                Elena paused, toying with an idea.
                “Of course,” she said. “If you really want, you can stay home and clean while I go out and get dye, use it, then go back out and get a job.”
                She smiled sweetly at him, leaning forward slightly.
                “And then,” honey dripping from her words. “If I find a single speck of dust, or evidence of mice, or anything else not perfect and clean, I’ll go and alert the authorities myself.”
                She sat back watching the effect of her words.
                “I’ll have to alert them! I’ll have killed you!”
                Laughing at his shock, she turned and headed toward the bedroom.
                “And you’re on the couch tonight,” Elena called back over her shoulder. “Sugar.” She added with another saccharine smile, shutting the door with a snap.

                Steve settled onto the couch without a murmur. After all, ‘Elena’ was scary when she was mad. Besides how hard could working at the cemetery be? It’s not like there would be ghosts or anything.

                'Elena' would never tell ‘Steve’ that she was afraid of what deep sleep would cause.
                Her fears were verified when she plunged into a nightmare the moment her head touched her pillow. She was immediately in the courtroom, sitting in the back, racked with fear. Any moment, the jury would return, the panel of judges asking them for a verdict.

                It had been nerve wracking walking past the officers and armed sims guarding the building where the highest-profile case of the century was being tried. The officers had gotten to know her as she slipped through them to attend the proceedings every day. And though they didn’t harry her, they weren’t kind either. The public watching her progress was even worse.

                Thankfully, her mind jumped from the verdict to her flight after the worst day of all. The woods would most likely haunt her longer than anything. She woke with a yell and covered in a cold sweat.
                Looking around the drab room she settled back down. Nope. No way Steve would sleep in the same room as she did. Ever.

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Welcome to my Random Legacy!
I’ve decided to copy several others who blog and only reveal my roll as the story progresses to where it should be.
And also, sorry for the rather uninspired title. Usually I can find a phrase within my chapter that summarizes it well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one of those this time. My poor Sims were being too cautious to speak freely.
There are a lot of red herrings in here, and a lot of references to my previous story. I’m really really really trying to make it so that you can read this without a knowledge of my previous story. However, I loved that story and thought it was really well done (mostly) for me, so go check it out if you can! I worked really hard, also, while writing that so that ‘Elena’s’ story will be revealed here more than it ever was there. I’ve been working toward this for weeks. The wrap-up and tie-in of it all should be quite something, if I do say so myself. I’m rather proud of my plot twisting abilities, in my head at least. ;)
We’ll see where this takes us.
Just in case anyone is wondering, I removed all of 'Elena's' skills and cleared her inventory out  excepting 3 items classified as relatively worthless, (a prom photo, and two awards from the ghost hunter career) and I will never sell them during the course of the challenge. I created 'Steve' in CAS and merged him with the 'Brewer' family. Once I'd gotten rid of the other family members, I then set the family funds to §18,500 and proceeded to move them into the tiniest house I've ever built. But knowing what I know I knew I'd need the funds. Then I went in and edited the heck out of the town killing off like 3/4 of the population and putting in random other households. This kept family trees intact as well as brought in fresh blood. It's also AMAZING how much faster the game works without 180 sims in town...  
BTW- This is where I got the name from: The very best pages of our local phone book, ever.  >:D

How can you not use that?